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Wellness in the CI Classroom

If I'm being entirely honest, I'm feeling pretty frustrated.


I'm feeling frustrated with what I believe is an inordinate amount of time, energy, and resources that go into trying to get adults to consider challenging or even just questioning their paradigms, as opposed to putting that energy toward the pursuit of best practices.


I've put in SO much work over my career toward developing curricula and cultivating materials that are antiracist, and it feels as though the battle I fight most often isn't about what is or isn't the best way to provide an antiracist educational experience, but trying to teach grown-ass adults what the word "equity" means.


There's an aggressive amount of remedial work just to get folks up to speed...work for which we Black teachers, in particular, are often not compensated, and work which is often met with resistance and/or hostility, which only further alienates us in spaces that weren't designed with us in mind in the first place...


In my experience, some of the best-case scenarios have been when the institution or teachers consider things like DEI or SEL work, but only as an aside to their predetermined curriculum. I just can't get behind the idea that we can be remotely effective in promoting socio-emotional wellness when it is an occasional supplement to the school day. I just can't get behind the idea that we can be remotely effective in promoting diversity, equity and inclusion without considering the socio-emotional wellness of our marginalized students in our curricula and classroom environments.


But again, so much of the conversation is geared toward getting some folks on board even with the idea that young people's anxiety is a thing, much less how we can accommodate it as adult stakeholders in their lives.


So, I'm ranting, because I think I deserve to talk shit sometimes.


But!


On a more constructive tip, a few years ago I started opening a decent amount of classes with a quick body scan and/or mindfulness meditation. I would usually lead it myself, but I have found a few good ones on YouTube that I have enjoyed using as well. Linguistically, it's a great way to work on body parts, and on imperatives. Otherwise, my students have always loved that our class was one in which they knew their peace of mind was central. Also important, I always emphasize to the students that these sorts of exercises are mostly for me. I think they appreciate that I'm modeling taking care of myself, and inviting them to join me, as opposed to being the authority in the ivory tower preaching to them what they should do.


Here is a cool video that I used today. We talked about certain verbs and body parts beforehand. Otherwise, there were plenty of cognates to keep it mostly comprehensible.


Give it a try and let me know how it works for you!




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